Month: May 2014

Reader Mailbag: Third Wheel

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Paying rent via certified check 2. Care with homemade foodstuffs 3. USDA Food Plan argument 4. Value of networking 5. Homemade Pop Tarts 6. Value of …

Categories: Books and Reading

Bypass Agents and Buy Directly from Companies (262/365)

In many ways, I feel the same way about insurance agents as I do about financial advisors. In both cases, most of the people in the business are really good people. They’re out there doing what they can to make their customer’s situations better. One of the people I respected the most growing up was …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Parenting Is Hard Edition

It’s easy to have a child. It’s not nearly as easy to raise one well. The key thing to remember as a parent is that children need to push boundaries sometimes. They need to do things wrong and discover the consequences of doing so. It is incredibly easy to get frustrated with this when your …

Categories: Books and Reading

Combine Health Insurance with Your Spouse (261/365)

When Sarah and I graduated from college, we were both lucky enough to find jobs almost immediately. Since we weren’t married yet, we signed up for health insurance separately, with each of us getting policies. A year later, we were married. We largely kept our finances separate at that point. Two years later, our first …

Categories: Frugality

Bottles and Cans

When I was in middle school, I spent a lot of my free time collecting aluminum cans. I would store them up and then eventually sell them to earn some pocket money. We lived in Illinois at the time, which didn’t have a refund system, so one’s method of earning a return on the cans …

Categories: Getting Started

Make Your Home More Disaster-Resistant (260/365)

When the insurance company offers you a quote for your homeowners insurance policy, they come up with that quote by figuring out how much of a risk your house has of facing a major disaster. To figure out that risk, they look at a lot of things: how new your home is, the area where …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Fascination

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Reasonable or unreasonable expenses 2. Charity auctions 3. Next step after debt freedom 4. Learning chess for free? 5. 401(k) investment options 6. Teaching children animation …

Categories: Books and Reading

Know What Your Real Building Costs Are and Provide Proof (259/365)

Why do you have homeowners insurance? The reason is, of course, to protect you in the event of a major disaster. If your house burns down or some other insured disaster befalls you, you’re going to want to be able to pay off that mortgage and rebuild, right? Getting reimbursed for the structure of your …

Categories: Frugality

Drive Carefully (258/365)

When I was sixteen, I got into a car accident. I skidded on a bit of ice and rear-ended another car, one that happened to be driven by my cousin. There wasn’t much damage to either car; her car had to have a plastic piece on the rear replaced and my car was completely fine. …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #91

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Christian Larson on criticizing others It is so easy to tear down others. It is so hard to improve yourself. “Give so much time to the improvements of yourself …

Pay All of Your Bills on Time (257/365)

It seems like such common sense, doesn’t it? You get a bill in the mail. It has a due date on it. You make sure to get the payment in the mail before that due date. Sometimes, though, it’s not so easy. We forget about it. We miss a bill because money is tight. We …

Categories: Frugality

Increase Your Deductible (256/365)

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your car. It has a blue book value of about $6,000. You have a deductible of $500, which means that you have to cover the first $500 of any cost turned into your insurance. For this, you pay some amount each year – let’s …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Toothbrush Uses

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Retirement or school? 2. Board games for free 3. Earning money on YouTube 4. Cheap routine meals 5. Expensive IRA 6. Aggressive insurance salesman 7. Blogging …

Categories: Books and Reading

Try Bundling Your Policies for a Discount (255/365)

Most major insurance companies offer a wide range of insurance types, from life insurance and auto insurance to renters insurance and homeowners insurance. It’s good business, since most of the business units you need for one are going to also be used for the other insurance types. They save money because of the overlap. Of …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Insectary Edition

Lately, my children have been spending their evenings catching insects of various kinds. They run out into the field behind our house, try to catch crickets and grasshoppers with their hands, and run back to show me the things they’ve captured. This has been a wonderful chance to teach them about being kind to living …

Categories: Books and Reading

Know Your Discounts (254/365)

We’ve all seen the insurance advertisements where they laud all of the discounts you can get if you’re a safe driver over a certain period or your children have good grades or other such things. Those discounts can save you significant money, but there’s a catch. The catch is that the insurance company may or …

Categories: Frugality

More Money, More Problems

Jennifer writes in: I really appreciate the articles you write on frugality. My husband and I are very glad to have simple jobs that we can just walk away from at the end of the day without stress. We don’t make a ton of money, but we have everything we need and we don’t have …

Categories: Getting Started

Shop Around for Homeowners and Automobile Insurance (253/365)

Obviously, you should shop around for any type of insurance, but these are the most common types of insurance that people have, usually because they’re required by local law. Why shop around? For better rates, of course. Shopping around for homeowners and automobile insurance can easily save you as much as 50% on your annual …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Fall Camping

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Dr. Bronner’s castille soap 2. Food magazine storage 3. Card for annual cruise 4. Handling parents with newborn 5. Early retirement and Social Security 6. Gifts …

Categories: Books and Reading